Population Aging Presents Great Economic Opportunity, Report Demonstrates

Embargoed Until
May 10, 2018, at 10 a.m. EDT

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Older Americans — growing in numbers and diversity — will be key to the nation’s future economic health, but the public and private sectors must adapt to these demographic realities, according to “Longevity Economics: Leveraging the Advantages of an Aging Society,” a new report developed by The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) with support from Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

By 2035, adults age 65 and older will outnumber children under age 18 for the first time in American history. The report argues that as the longevity era develops, actions are needed now to address ageism and age discrimination, develop coherent policies and laws regarding retirement and pensions that recognize people are living far past the historical retirement age of 65, and enhance the economic impact of older workers and retirees at the local, regional, state, and national levels.

“Longevity Economics” was produced by a GSA workgroup chaired by Peter Cappelli, director of the Center for Human Resources at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. It is being released at a Capitol Hill briefing on Thursday, May 10, at 10 a.m. EDT at the Reserve Officers Association building (1 Constitution Avenue NE).

“Longer life expectancy is a tremendous boon for Americans,” Cappelli said. “In this report, we hope to stimulate a policy conversation on how society and the economy can make the best use of living longer.”

Recognizing that the future of aging won’t look like the past, GSA’s new report presents:

  • Several myths associated with older people in the workforce and facts that dispel them;
  • A perspective on five phases of aging and reasons why older adults are not a homogeneous group and should not be viewed as such;
  • Ways that Americans are contributing to the productivity of American society far past age 65;
  • Ways that the consumer habits of older Americans create ripple effects in the economy;
  • Actions that have been taken by other countries that already have super-aged societies; and
  • Changes that should be considered in the U.S. to eliminate ageism and foster the emergence of longevity economics.

“The public and private sectors have a helpful role to play in the age of longevity,” said Kevin Crain, enterprise financial solutions executive at Bank of America. “In our experience and through our research, we find that the majority of employees would like to continue working past the typical age of retirement — but on their terms, in new fields and with greater flexibility. Policies that attract and retain this experienced talent will be helpful to the economy.”


The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) is the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society — and its 5,500+ members — is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA’s structure also includes a policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society, and an educational unit, the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education.

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